The Primary Mathematics Challenge is a fun and exciting mathematical Challenge aimed at pupils in years 5 and 6 England and Wales, P6 and P7 in Scotland, and Years 6 and 7 in Northern Ireland.
The PMC is not designed to be just another test in the school year. We are of the belief that the PMC encourages enthusiasm, boosts confidence in mathematics and shows the different way questions can be asked. We believe in the importance of Problem Solving as a means of helping pupils develop their reasoning skills.
“…This was very challenging (the teachers struggled with some!) but something which was eagerly anticipated by both staff and the pupils involved. I will certainly be using these questions later in the year as problem solving challenges..." - Teacher Nov 2016
Answering PMC questions does not depend on mathematical knowledge alone, but on the ability to think things through, be logical and find ways to solve problems. Pupils also need to read the questions carefully!
"...An excellent paper with questions on the last page to test the most able pupils. The paper encouraged pupils to 'think outside the box' in their solving of problems..." - Teacher Nov 2016
“…The paper showed up how sloppy some of our brightest mathematicians were at reading the questions carefully, so they failed on some of the easier marks…” – Teacher, Kent
“…some of the questions are sneaky! ...” Pupil, Devon
The PMC is designed to make pupils think outside the box. The questions asked are not necessarily subjects that have been covered in the curriculum by this time but the questions can create a great starting point and lead to discussions later in the year. We try to make sure the questions are not heavily reliant on formal mathematical knowledge, but can be solved by logical reasoning.
“…Y6 has not yet covered all the mathematics curriculum prior to sitting the paper but really tackled it with enthusiasm… they all enjoyed the Challenge and confidence grows as they achieve…” – Teacher, Lancashire
The PMC paper has 25 questions. 20 of these are multiple choice. The questions are graded; starting with easy ones and graduating to harder questions. The final five require an answer where no choices are given.
"…The multiple choice questions allowed the less able pupils to participate along with the more able. A bit of a confidence booster...” – Teacher, Hartlepool
There are two practice questions on the front of the paper. The purpose of these questions is to make sure all the pupils know what they doing and where the answers are going. Completing these two questions does not eat into the allocated time for the Challenge.
“…the first page really built confidence for the children...” – Teacher, West Byfleet
Pupils can use as much note paper (provided by you) as they need for their working out.
The Primary Mathematics Challenge papers come in packs of ten, so there is enough for ten pupils. With each pack of ten papers you will receive;
Also provided are full instructions, solutions and follow-up ideas for the classroom, feedback sheet, and an opportunity to raise the profile of mathematics in your school.
The PMC will take place within your school so all papers are to be marked by you, using the answers we supply and the easy-to-use mark scheme. We will need you to log on to the website after the challenge has taken place and submit your results on-line or, if necessary, you can submit your results using the tally form provided, including the names of any high scorers. Even if you don’t have anyone scoring above 19, we still need your scores as they help us to assess the reaction to the paper and give more accurate statistics so please take 5 minutes to log on and submit them. Thank you!
For the November paper the teachers decide how the certificates be awarded. Decisions are therefore an 'in-school' task. The spirit of the PMC is that, in each school, there will be a number of gold, silver and bronze pupils who deserve certificates. We know every school has pupils of varying ability so we do not want to limit the achievements of any pupils taking part. One gold, two silver and three bronze certificates are provided in each pack, and a photocopiable 'Took the Challenge' certificate is provided for everyone else.
After the November results were collated and moderated, 1932 of the high scoring pupils were invited to take part in the Bonus Round. Whereas the November Challenge is an in-school Challenge, the Bonus Round sees pupils competing on a worldwide level (we have many overseas schools taking part in PMC and we are pleased to note that the number increases year on year!)
There is no extra charge for the pupils entering into the Bonus Round. Everything you need is sent directly to you in January. Pupils take the Challenge in school. There is one day only allocated for this challenge and the OMR papers have to be sent back to us swiftly; we have to be strict on this deadline as the papers are marked for us electronically by the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust at the University of Leeds.
The Bonus Paper is set out in a similar format to the November Challenge paper with 25 questions and 45 minutes to do them in. Pupils are required to complete an optical mark reader (OMR) form with their answers.
Last year we were delighted to have awarded 33 Gold Medals, 118 Silver medals and 352 Bronze medals to the pupils achieving the highest scores in the Bonus Round. These pupils received a medal and a certificate. All other entrants received a certificate for taking part. Getting to the Bonus Round is a great achievement so pupils should never be disheartened if they did not receive a medal.
There are many things which can be done throughout the year and the PMC papers and resources can help you with these.
PMC questions are a good basis for discussion and can be ‘unpicked’ when the subjects come up in future lessons. The methods used to answer certain questions can be discussed and children can compare their strategies. The PMC Answers and Notes provide some excellent ideas for discussion and investigation.
We also receive comments that the PMC paper is a good basis for use in the preparations for the 11 plus exam and also the Numerical Reasoning test in Wales.
“…we love your question. We don’t spend enough time on this kind of mathematics…” – Teacher, Abingdon
Why not give out daily brain teasers from the selection of over 600 questions available in the Challenge Your Pupils book series.